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Published August 13, 2013, 11:14 AM

Heitkamp bemoans Senate gridlock

North Dakota senators travel the state during recess to talk energy, farm bill and health care.

By: TJ Jerke, Forum News Service

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said Monday there is something wrong with the process in Washington when three Senators can keep Congress from passing a budget.

“We need to get back to regular order,” she said. “The rules of the U.S. Senate are not working for America.”

Heitkamp’s reference to the ongoing issue between the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic-controlled Senate was part of a list of issues facing the country she laid out during a 25-minute address to the Bismarck Lions Club.

Heitkamp, the state’s sole Democratic official in Washington, only expects the battle between the House and Senate to continue when they return from their fall recess break, expecting little movement on key issues such as the federal farm bill and budget.

“It’s not that we don’t get along, we sometimes have fundamental disagreements on how the country should move forward,” she said about the two main political parties.

Heitkamp is spending her recess break traveling the state talking and meeting with officials mainly about energy, banking, housing and what the next phase of healthcare reform is going to be.

She will meet Wednesday with the director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and area bankers.

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven also is traveling around the state during the recess break. He will meet today with Bismarck area agriculture leaders, the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce and bankers to discuss the farm bill and business-related issues.

Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer will continue his weekly town hall radio show on Wednesdays, take part in a Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce forum and two ribbons cutting ceremonies in Minot later this month.